Miami University to Host International Conference on Sport Biomechanics

James M. Loy, Miami University

Miami University will soon become an international destination for sport biomechanics experts from all over the world. This year, the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS) has chosen the rural campus community of Oxford, Ohio, to host its 37th annual conference.

“They change continents every year,” says Mark Walsh, Miami University associate professor of kinesiology and 2019 ISBS conference chair. “So one year it’s the Americas. One year it’s Asia and Australia. The next year it’s Europe and Africa. Last year it was New Zealand. The year before it was Germany. And now, it's in Oxford, Ohio.”

On July 21 - 25, a world-class group of experts and students will present research and projects covering all areas of biomechanics, which is essentially the study of sport physics.

“We take sport and analyze the mechanics of it,” Walsh says. “So, for instance, if you have a ball and you kick it at a 30-degree angle at a certain velocity, we can calculate how far it's going to go. How high it's going to go. If we know how it’s spinning, we can calculate the lift and drag forces as well as how much it will curve during flight.”

The field also covers a wide variety of areas related to human movement and motion as well.

By exploring how and why our bodies move the way they do, biomechanics allows researchers to understand the complex relationships between skeletal, muscular, and neurological interactions. Their goal, ultimately, is to find new ways to reduce injuries and improve pitcher throwing pitch

This year’s ISBS event will cover topics that include the mechanical analyses of golf swings and baseball pitching, motor control dynamics in gymnastics, how new research is being conducted in virtual environments, and more.

The list of prominent keynote speakers will also feature Walter Herzog, who is internationally renowned for his work in kinesiology, medicine, and engineering, and for his pioneering discoveries of the molecular mechanisms that explain how muscles affect bones and joints.

Karl Newell, one of the top motor control specialists in the U.S., will also present a keynote address on coordination and control. From the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, Veronique Feipel will speak about running-related injuries. And Toni Arndt, who’s orthopedic work at the College in Stockholm in Sweden has made significant contributions in both footwear and cycling, will speak as well. 

Walsh -- as a biomechanics researcher himself, who focuses on ACL knee injuries and on the diagnostic potential of studying balance and postural sway -- is excited about the expansive breadth of knowledge this conference will bring.

“We definitely have some high profile researchers in the biomechanics area,” he says. “We have a pretty well-rounded group of keynote speakers coming. They were part of the draw. You don't get these people in the same place talking very often.” 

students presenting researchFor Miami, the 2019 ISBS conference will help raise the university’s global profile by introducing the campus and the community to a new body of international scholars.

The event also presents an exciting opportunity for Miami’s department of kinesiology and health to engage a new group of potential students.

“About a third of the people that come to these conferences are students,” Walsh says. “They will present research and student projects, and they'll have a tour of our labs. So, for us, on more of a micro level, this would be a recruiting venue for possible students. It's a gives us some press. They'll now have us on their radar.”